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Iran: Iranian Christian Prisoner Describes Mental Torture As Common Practice

“In Iranian prisons, mental torture is nothing short of physical torture. Interrogators ask questions about the most personal family matters just to harass you mentally”, said a former Christian prisoner in an interview with Mohabat News after leaving Iran.

(A more detailed version of this article has been published in Farsi. Below is a summarized version)

Mohabat News – In the past few years, especially after the controversial 2009 presidential election, the situation has been worsening for political and social activists, and religious minorities. The Islamic regime of Iran seizes every possible opportunity to restrict and pressure them. For Christian converts these pressures have been in the form of closure of churches, arrests, torture, long-term sentences and being exiled to remote places with extreme weather.

These persecutions have caused many Christians to leave their home country, Iran.

Hassan Saddat-Barikani, is a Christian convert who was imprisoned in Evin prison for several months before being conditionally release on bail. During this period of conditional release, threats against him, his family and his job grew to the point where he could not do anything but leave the country illegally. He and his family crossed the Iran-Turkey border, and claimed refugee status there.

When he was in Iran, security authorities had arrested him twice for his faith.

He told Mohabat News, “The situation is really tough for religious minorities, especially Christian converts, in Iran. Security authorities constantly pressure them. It even reached the point that churches were pressured to require us to present our ID cards and give our address and phone number before entering the church building. It was obviously a government requirement. Some churches were forced to cooperate with the government, or the government would intensify its pressure on the church. There are many unnamed Christians in prisons in Iran, especially in smaller cities. The situation is different in Tehran. News of Christian prisoners in Tehran find their way outside and are spread. However, no one would know about Christian prisoners in smaller cities”.

As Mr. Saddat-Barikani explains it, “In Iranian prisons, mental torture is nothing short of physical torture. Interrogators ask questions about the most personal family matters just to harass you mentally”. He and his family are currently seeking asylum in Turkey.

A court in Iran has seized a portion of his assets and prohibited from working.

Regarding his situation in prison, he said, “We could usually shower once a week, but sometimes that would not happen. There were also cleaning programs, but even those were often skipped. Even going to the washroom has its own issues. You would call on the guards to escort you to the washroom, and they would often ignore you, whether on purpose or by order. Add these to the difficulties of solitary confinement. Even the most basic human needs are not provided for in ward 209 of Evin prison”.

(Read complete interview in Farsi)

VOP note:

womanPrayingPlease remember to pray for the nation of Iran and for Christians living there. There are so many suffering for their faith in Christ. Most of us know of American Pastor Saeed Abedini imprisoned by Iran for his faith, but as the report claims there are many we never hear about.

Pray they may be given strength and boldness for the Lord. That they may know He has not forsaken them. Pray the will forgive their oppressors. Pray for the persecutors, that their hearts be softened. And they will come to know the love of Christ—then follow Him.

Latest News on Imprisoned American Pastor Saeed Abedini

Jan 22, 2013

Jan 25, 201

Jan 25, 2013

The American Center for Law and Justice reports: After more than 235,000 petition signatures, dozens of ACLJ media appearances, tireless efforts from his wife, Naghmeh, letters signed by 49 Senators and Representatives, and media coverage, both the U.S. State Department and the White House condemned Iran for its imprisonment of Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen. Both have called on Iran to release him. On Friday, at the State Department’s daily news briefing, Victoria Nuland discussed Pastor Saeed’s case.

Victoria Nuland
Spokesperson Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
January 25, 2013

QUESTION: Firstly, we had a story a few days ago on Saeed
Abedini, this U.S. citizen jailed in Iran, reporting that he
might get bail. Do you have any information on that and on his

MS. NULAND: We remain very concerned about U.S.
citizen Saeed Abedini, who is detained in Iran on charges related to his
religious beliefs. Mr. Abedini’s attorney had only one day to present his
defense. And we remain deeply concerned about the fairness and the transparency
of his trial. We condemn Iran’s continued violation of the universal rights of
freedom of religion, and we call on the Iranian authorities to respect Mr.
Abedini’s human rights and to release him. We are in close contact with his
family as well and we’re actively engaged in the

QUESTION: So no indication that he was let out on
bail as, I think it was, this Iranian news agency seemed to suggest that might
be —

MS. NULAND: I don’t have any positive news to
report on this, unfortunately.

For the first time, White House spokesman Jay Carney responded forcefully about Pastor Saeed’s case during today’s regular briefing with reporters. Carney condemned Iran and urged Iran to release Pastor Saeed. Here is a transcript of that exchange:

Q: U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini has been on trial in Iran over the course of this week.  His supporters say yesterday he was transferred to another prison unit, ostensibly to get him better medical attention and that he’s kind of disappeared since that time. There are also reports from his supporters that he may have been beaten while he was in captivity.  Has the president been getting any read outs on what is happening there and has there been anything the administration has been able to do to try and assist in his case? I know we have limited contact with Iran, but have there been any diplomatic attempts to try and influence what is happening there?

JAY CARNEY:  Well, I can tell you a couple of things.  One, that we remain concerned about  Saeed Abedini, who is, as you mentioned, detained in Iran on a charge related to his religious beliefs. The State Department is in close contact with his family and is actively engaged on this case.  As you know, Mr. Abedini’s attorney had only one day to present his defense and earlier this week, Mr. Abedini was not allowed to attend his own trial, so we remain deeply concerned about the fairness and transparency of that trial.  We condemn Iran’s continued violation of the universal right of the freedom of religion and we call on the Iranian authorities to release Mr. Abedini. On the first part of your questions about the reports that he might be missing, I would refer you to the State Department.  They are, as I said, actively engaged in this case. 

Q: Are there any diplomatic channels that the White House has been able to use in this case?

CARNEY: That would be a question for the State Department


This morning Pastor Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh  excitedly shared with us this report:

Thank you for all who have prayed these last few days! We are seeing so many answers to prayer! US State Department and White House made statements demanding Saeed to be released and NOW, we are told about his whereabouts…See update below

Update: Saeed’s Family Told American Pastor is in Different Ward in Iran’s Evin Prison (visitation is on Monday only, i.e. they didn’t see him).
Today, the family friend who was threatened by Iranian officials because he was assisting them in attempting to place bail, returned to court to retrieve some documents. A court administrator told the family friend to let Pastor Saeed’s lawyer know that he needed to come to court because they would be releasing Pastor Saeed soon. Pastor Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh, is understandably anxious to confirm her husband’s whereabouts and condition. “We have been told so many things about Saeed,” said Naghmeh. “I don’t believe anything the Iranian government says about my husband. See the ACLJ full report here

Christians have come together in love and support of Pastor Abedini and his family

Family, friends and concerned Christians through out the world have been signing up to pray around the clock for this pastor and his loved ones in this extremely trying time. They are planning continued 24 hour prayer until Saeed is home safe in the United States and back with his family!

Many  have asked what more they can do. Please note below instructions:

1- We need to continue contacting our Democratic Congressmen and Senators who have not raised their voice and concern over Saeed’s imprisonment.

2- Write a letter to the Evin Prison. Saeed will most likely not receive the letters, but it will show the Iranian government that many are aware of Saeed’s situation.
For more information on how to correctly compose this letter and the address to send it, please contact Voice of the Persecuted at: voice4thepersecuted@gmail.com
Jan 26, 2013- Recent reports suggest Congressmen in Brazil  ask for Saeed’s release. We pray Brazil, a country with good relations with Iran can influence the Iranian government to let him return to his family where he belongs. We will keep you updated on this developing news!
Please continue to keep this man and his family in your prayers. And continue to  “BE HIS VOICE”!


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